Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

Providing adequate water, sanitation and hygiene facilities is a key public health challenge for the new millennium. At a time when over three-quarters of a billion people lack access to safe drinking water and 2.5 billion are without even basic sanitation facilities, roughly half the hospital beds in the developing world are occupied by people suffering from water and sanitation-related diseases such as diarrhea, pneumonia, eye and skin infections, malaria and cholera.

International Medical Corps works to provide these most basic of human needs, supporting community efforts, especially in disaster-affected conditions, to promote and provide clean water and safe sanitation services. Aware that simple hand-washing with soap and water can reduce the diarrheal disease incidence rate by nearly half and the rate of respiratory disease by about one quarter, we also promote hygiene awareness through community-based health clinics.


  • We have implemented WASH programs in countries, including: Haiti, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Chad, Somalia and Kenya .


  • Water Supply
  • Hygiene promotion
  • Sanitation
  • WASH at healthcare facilities
  • Integrated WASH

The Problem

Without clean water and sanitation, public health cannot be achieved. Globally, one in five child deaths is due to diarrhea. Further, half the hospital beds in developing countries are occupied by people with WASH-related diseases such as diarrhea, pneumonia, eye and skin infections, malaria, cholera, and typhoid—adding an extra burden to limited health care delivery services.

Our Strategy

As part of our comprehensive approach to health, International Medical Corps prioritizes access to equitable, reliable and clean water, the provision and improvement of sanitation facilities and the promotion of safe hygiene practices. Our WASH work focuses on strengthening health care service delivery at the facility level by establishing safe water supply and sanitation infrastructure and services. We also integrate hygiene promotion— widely recognized as the more cost-effective intervention in the water and sanitation sector—into all of our WASH projects in order to enable communities to better protect themselves from the threat of infectious diseases. Throughout all of our programs, we actively engage communities and relevant authorities in the development and implementation of sustainable WASH interventions.

Only 45% of schools in the least developed and low-income countries have adequate sanitation facilities


The Power of Clean Water in Zimbabwe

"Children from the village would frequently suffer from illnesses, including diarrhea, skin infections and bilharzia, which would make them urinate blood. Few in the village understood that these conditions were related to poor water, sanitation and hygiene practices."



Can Washing Your Hands in an Emergency Save Your Life?

Yes! Just ask Sherifo, a Somali refugee living in Ethiopia and volunteer WASH committee member in Bokolmayo refugee camp in Dolo Ado. Sherifo didn't understand the importance of handwashing before coming to Ethiopia, and now, she says it makes all the difference.



Water and Sanitation Capabilities Statement

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Water and Sanitation in Haiti

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